Category Archives: Featured

Oregon governor signs sweeping automatic voter registration into law

Oregon Governor Kate Brown speaks at the state capital building in Salem

Oregon Governor Kate Brown speaks at the state capital building in Salem, Oregon, February 20, 2015.

Credit: Reuters/Steve Dipaola


(Reuters) – Sweeping first-in-the nation legislation making voter registration automatic in Oregon was signed into law on Monday by Governor Kate Brown, potentially adding 300,000 new voters to state rolls.

 

The so-called Motor Voter legislation will use state Department of Motor Vehicles data to automatically register eligible voters whose information is contained in the DMV system, with a 21-day opt-out period for those who wish to be taken off the registry.

Supporters say the legislation’s goal is to keep young voters, students and working families who move often from losing their right to vote. Republican lawmakers, who unanimously voted against the bill, complain it puts Oregonians’ privacy at risk.

“I challenge every other state in this nation to examine their policies and to find ways to ensure there are as few barriers as possible for citizens’ right to vote,” said Brown, a Democrat who took office last month after John Kitzhaber stepped down amid an ethics scandal.

The current legislation, which Brown had pushed for as secretary of state, goes further than a 1993 federal motor voter law that required states to make voter registration available for people getting or renewing a driver’s license.

Under the state law, the Oregon Secretary of State will use the DMV data, which includes information on whether a person is a citizen, to register voters, who would then be sent a postcard with information on how to opt out of registration altogether.

The postcard will also instruct voters on how to choose a political party, and those who do not choose will be registered as unaffiliated under the law.

“A one-size-fits-all approach to voter registration does not work for our most vulnerable citizens that could be endangered if their personal information is suddenly made public,” Republican state Senator Kim Thatcher said in a statement.

Oregon is among a handful of states that conduct elections in a vote-by-mail system and has historically had a high voter turnout rate, above the national average.

The bill is a signature piece of legislation for Brown, who was sworn in as governor Feb. 18 after Kitzhaber resigned.

The ex-governor faces a federal criminal corruption investigation over accusations his fiancée used her role in his office for personal gain. He has denied accusations of wrongdoing.

(This version of the story corrects governor’s name to “Brown” in first paragraph)

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Alan Crosby)


Source: Newsjyoti Politics

Over 1 million Brazilians protest Rousseff, economy, corruption

Demonstrators attend a protest against Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff in Manaus
(Reuters) – Over one million demonstrators marched in cities and towns across Brazil on Sunday to protest a sluggish economy, rising prices and corruption – and to call for the impeachment of leftist President Dilma Rousseff.

The marches across the continent-sized country come as Brazil struggles to overcome economic and political malaise and pick up the pieces of a boom that crumbled once Rousseff took office in 2011.

Rousseff, now early into her second four-year term, is unlikely to resign or face the impeachment proceedings called for by many opponents. A fifth year of economic stagnation and a multibillion dollar corruption scandal at state-run energy company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras has fueled their anger.

But for a president narrowly re-elected just five months ago, the protests are a sign of a polarized country increasingly unhappy with its leadership. Rousseff has recently been jeered at public appearances and Brazilians in some cities banged pots during a televised speech she made earlier this month.

Sunday’s larger than expected demonstrations also promise to embolden opposition parties and restive allies who are nominally part of Rousseff’s ruling coalition, but nonetheless hindering efforts, along with staunch leftists in her own party, to pass reforms intended to help jumpstart the economy.

In a statement posted online Sunday, Aecio Neves, a centrist who was defeated by Rousseff in October and is the leader of Brazil’s main opposition party, said the demonstrations marked a day when Brazilians “went to the streets to reunite with their virtues, their values and also with their dreams.”

Rousseff in a statement Saturday said that she supported the rights of the marchers. She said she hoped the demonstrations, timed to coincide with the thirty year anniversary of the end of a two-decade military dictatorship, would illustrate Brazil’s “democratic maturity.”

Indeed, Sunday’s gatherings were mostly calm and festive, with little of the violence that tarnished a wave of massive demonstrations in 2013, when Brazilians protested billions of dollars of spending, even as the economy stumbled, to host the 2014 World Cup of soccer.

But if less vehement, the rallies Sunday surprisingly matched those of two years ago in scale. In Sao Paulo alone, more than a million people, according to state police, weathered a drizzle to march along skyscraper-lined Avenida Paulista, the heart of Brazil’s financial capital and biggest city by late afternoon.

“People feel betrayed, said Diogo Ortiz, a 32-year-old advertising worker, who called the ongoing scandal at Petrobras “a national and international disgrace.”

Earlier, thousands of residents of Rio de Janeiro poured onto the Copacabana waterfront of Brazil’s second-largest city. Most dressed in the blue, green and yellow of Brazil’s flag. Crowds sang the national anthem and shouted “Dilma, Out!”

Many protesters hail from the country’s wealthier classes, who traditionally oppose the ruling Workers’ Party.

Underscoring class divisions, marchers said Rousseff and the ruling party have instigated the polarization by trying to pit their traditional supporters, the recipients of popular social welfare programs, against the rest of Brazil.

The party “is inciting the people against the people,” said Helena Alameda Prado Bastos, a 61-year-old editor in Sao Paulo.

The Workers’ Party, opponents complain, for too long ignored critiques that its heavy spending, subsidized lending, protectionist policies and corruption have sapped the vitality that led to average growth exceeding 4 percent during the decade before she took office.

Although the party also presided over those good years, during two terms of Rousseff’s mentor and predecessor, economists say she failed to adjust policies when a global commodities boom ended and sapped once-soaring export revenue.

So grim are Brazil’s prospects that many economists expect it to slip into recession this year. Inflation is running at a ten-year high, while Brazil’s currency, the real, has lost over 22 percent of its value against the dollar this year.

Rousseff supporters held rallies of their own on Friday, though demonstrators numbered far fewer than Sunday’s.

(Additional reporting by Caroline Stauffer, Pedro Fonseca, Anthony Boadle and Maria Carolina Marcello; Editing by Christian Plumb)


Source: Newsjyoti Top Trending

Prevent ‘left-wing’ government, Netanyahu tells campaign rally

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a right-wing rally in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a right-wing rally in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square March 15, 2015.

Credit: Reuters/Baz Ratner

(Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, trailing in opinion polls two days before a parliamentary election, on Sunday implored right-wing voters to turn out and “stop a left-wing government from coming to power.”

Speaking to a rally of thousands of supporters of Israel’s right-wing parties from behind a bulletproof screen at Tel Aviv’s main square, Netanyahu warned that the right-wing government he leads could be voted out of office.

“Our rivals are investing a huge effort to harm me and the Likud, to open a gap between my party, the Likud, and (our rivals), and if we don’t close this gap, there is a real danger that a left-wing government will rise to power,” Netanyahu said.

Final opinion polls published on Friday predicted the center-left Zionist Union led by Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni would take between 24 and 26 seats in Tuesday’s vote, compared to 20-22 seats for Likud.

No single party has ever won an outright majority in Israel’s 120-seat Knesset and the party leader with the best chance of forming a coalition would lead the new government.

While admitting he is trailing in the polls, Netanyahu is hoping that right-wing parties can narrow the gap sufficiently for him to be nominated by Israel’s president to form the next coalition and win a fourth term as prime minister.

Earlier on Sunday, he publicly offered the Finance Ministry portfolio to Moshe Kahlon, a potential king-making rival from a newly formed centrist party. But Kahlon dismissed the offer as pre-election spin.

Even if Likud is outnumbered, Netanyahu is counting on a larger right-wing bloc to support his bid for another term and Kahlon, with around 10 seats in the polls, could tilt things in his favor.

After realizing he was trailing his opponents in the polls, Netanyahu launched a media blitz to counter the apparent rising tide of support for the Zionist Union, his main opponent.

“This is a fateful struggle, a close struggle, we must close the gap, it is possible to close this gap,” Netanyahu told the cheering crowd holding banners and waving flags. Unofficial estimates put the turnout at 15,000-30,000.

“Most of the public do not want (Livni and Herzog) as prime ministers of Israel and want to see me continuing as the leader of the country and prime minister,” he asserted.

Netanyahu’s campaign focus on security issues and the threat from Iran’s nuclear program has failed to inspire voters, who consistently say that economic issues, including soaring house prices and the high cost of living, are their chief concerns.

(Reporting by Amir Cohen and Baz Ratner, writing by Ori Lewis and Ari Rabinovitch; editing by Kevin Liffey)


Source: Newsjyoti Top Trending

West hopes for Iran concessions in nuclear talks

Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa greets U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry before a meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh
(Reuters) – Western powers are hoping for concessions from Tehran that could help clinch a political agreement in nuclear talks this week after the United States and European powers voiced a willingness to compromise on suspending U.N. sanctions, officials said.

 

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had been due to meet in Lausanne, Switzerland, later on Sunday to try to break the logjam ahead of a crucial round of talks between Iran and six major powers.

But a senior U.S. State Department official later said that meeting would be delayed until Monday due to extensive U.S.-Iranian consultations earlier on Sunday between nuclear and Foreign Ministry officials.

Kerry has urged Iran to take decisions now to enable them to clinch a political framework agreement for a nuclear deal with Tehran that would lift sanctions in exchange for curbs on Tehran’s nuclear program ahead of an end-March deadline. The parties have set a June 30 deadline to finalize an accord.

“Serious gaps still remain,” Deputy Iranian Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi was quoted by Iran’s ISNA student news agency as saying. “We have had progress in the recent talks and during this round of talks we will see whether more progress can be achieved.”

“We hope to narrow the gaps on important disputes,” he added.

Kerry told CBS news on Saturday he hoped “in the next days” it would be possible to reach an interim political deal with Iran if Tehran can show that its nuclear power program is for peaceful purposes only.

It is not yet clear when the talks between Iran and the six powers will begin in Lausanne.

Reuters reported last week that the United States and five other powers and Iran have begun talking about a possible draft resolution to endorse any future deal and address the lifting of U.N. sanctions. The U.N. penalties could be eased quickly in the event of an agreement, Western officials said.

Officials close to the talks said this was a major new concession on the part of the United States, which had long insisted that U.N. sanctions would remain in place for years to come after a nuclear deal was signed, while unilateral U.S. and European measures might be lifted more swiftly.

“This was a quite a shift in the U.S. position and we hope the Iranians will follow with concessions on their end,” a Western official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. “So far the concessions have been mostly one-sided, though there has been some limited progress recently.”

NEW POSITION

Iranian officials have privately welcomed the new position on U.N. sanctions in the talks on the part of the United States and France. Diplomats say the other members of six power group back the idea of a swift suspension of U.N. nuclear sanctions if there is a deal, though they caution that many U.N. restrictions would stay in place.

“Iran knows that it will not happen overnight, but the fact that it is being discussed at the (six powers’) capitals and having a resolution is a sign of their willingness to resolve the issue,” a senior Iranian official told Reuters.

Iran, which rejects Western allegations it wants an atomic weapons capability, wants the U.N., EU and US sanctions lifted all at once. A nuclear accord that ends the decade-long standoff with Iran is seen as crucial to reducing tensions in the region.

Officials on both sides of the talks said it will be very difficult to get a political agreement this week. Iranian officials say that a signed agreement this week is unlikely, though they do not rule out some kind of verbal understanding.

Some eight U.N. resolutions dating back as far as 2006, four of them imposing sanctions, demand that Iran freeze uranium enrichment and other sensitive atomic work. They also bar the country from buying and selling atomic technology and anything linked to ballistic missiles. There is also a U.N. arms embargo.

In his CBS interview, Kerry also redoubled his criticism of Republicans, who said that seeking U.N. Security Council resolutions that endorse any deal and lift U.N. sanctions before seeking approval of Republican-led Congress would be wrong.

He said a letter from 47 Republicans to Iran’s leadership warning that any deal with President Barack Obama bypassing the Senate would not be binding and could be rescinded later was an unprecedented intrusion on executive authority.

Kerry voiced the hope that the letter would not undermine the negotiations in Lausanne.

The State Department said on Friday that any lifting of U.N. sanctions would not impact unilateral U.S. sanctions or limit Washington’s ability to take action on its own against Iran in the future.

(Additional reporting by Lesely Wroughton; Editing by Giles Elgood and Alison Williams)


Source: Newsjyoti Top Trending

Gay rainbow banners make debut at Boston St Paddy’s parade

Gay rights advocates prepare to march in an equality parade immediately after the annual South Boston St. Patrick's Day parade in Boston
(Reuters) – For the first time in the 114-year history of Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, gay rights activists marched openly on Sunday under rainbow banners in the city’s annual celebration of its Irish heritage, after organizers lifted a longtime ban.

 

Two groups, Boston Pride and OutVets, were among dozens of contingents taking part in the parade through the center of South Boston, once an insular Irish-American neighborhood near downtown that has undergone gentrification in recent years.

“South Boston is more diverse then it’s ever been and our inclusion is a testament to change in the neighborhood,” said Sylvain Bruno, president of Boston Pride, as he waited to march.

Organizers had excluded gay groups for two decades, maintaining that homosexuality conflicted with Roman Catholic doctrine. But they came under intense pressure to change their position, which ran counter to the liberal attitudes that prevail in Massachusetts. The state was the first in the United States to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004.

“Finally in the city of Boston we’re seeing the inclusivity we never thought we would see,” said Bryan Bishop, the 46-year-old founder of OutVets, representing gay military veterans. “This is personally one of the greatest days of my life.”

The Allied War Veterans Council of South Boston, which organizes the event, shortened the parade route by about half this year, after the city’s near-record snowfall in recent weeks made it difficult to clear roads.

“I’m always proud of my city, but I’m especially proud today” said Liz Palmer, a 23-year-old student watching the parade with friends under overcast skies.

The lifting of the ban was not without controversy. The Massachusetts contingent of Knights of Columbus, a Catholic men’s organization, pulled out of the parade on Friday, calling the event “politicized and divisive.”

Mayor Martin Walsh, who last year skipped the parade because of its exclusion of gay groups, was marching on Sunday, becoming the first mayor to do so in 20 years.

Boston’s mayors have stayed away since 1995, when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of the organizers to ban participants identifying themselves as homosexual.

“With this year’s parade, Boston is putting years of controversy behind us,” Walsh said in a statement.

In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio has said he will boycott his city’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade again this year because its organizers have allowed only a single gay rights group to march.

(Editing By Frank McGurty and Frances Kerry)


Source: Newsjyoti Lifestyle

U.S., India concerned over 13-year jail sentence for Maldives’ ex-president Nasheed

Nasheed arrives at Mal'e City with police officers

MALE/COLOMBO Sat Mar 14, 2015 2:10pm IST

Opposition leader and former Maldives’ President Mohamed Nasheed arrives at Mal’e City with police officers, for the first hearing of the trial held at Criminal Court in Male, February 23, 2015.

Credit: Reuters/Waheed Mohamed

 

MALE/COLOMBO (Reuters) – The United States, India and rights groups said on Saturday they were troubled by the trial of former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed, who was sentenced to 13 years in prison after being found guilty of terrorism for ordering the arrest of a judge.

 

The verdict on Friday was the latest chapter in three turbulent years in the Indian Ocean archipelago.

 

Nasheed, the country’s first democratically elected leader, was ousted in disputed circumstances, narrowly defeated in a controversial election and then arrested last month under new charges of terrorism.

 

“The prosecution’s evidence proved beyond reasonable doubt that Nasheed ordered the chief judge’s arrest or forceful abduction and detention on Girifushi island,” Judge Abdulla Didi said in the court in the capital, Male.

 

The three-judge bench’s verdict was unanimous, and the office of President Abdulla Yameen, who had denied that the prosecution was political, confirmed the jail sentence.

 

Nasheed’s election in 2008 ended the autocratic 30-year rule of Yameen’s half-brother, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

 

The announcement last month that Nasheed had been arrested on terrorism charges brought thousands onto the streets of Male, leading to clashes with security forces.

 

The U.S. embassy in nearby Sri Lanka said it was “particularly troubled” by reports that the trial was not in line with Maldivian law and the country’s international obligations. This included the denial of legal representation to Nasheed and concerns about the independence of the judges.

 

“We call on the government of Maldives to take steps to restore confidence in its commitment to democracy and the rule of law, including judicial independence, and to ensure fundamental rights are respected…,” it said in a statement.

 

Syed Akbaruddin, a spokesman for India’s Ministry of External affairs, said in a message on Twitter: “India deeply concerned at developments in Maldives, monitoring the situation closely.”

 

Human rights group Amnesty International said the conviction was a deeply flawed, politically motivated travesty of justice.

 

PROTESTERS DISPERSE

 

Tension had been rising again as the verdict approached and hundreds of Nasheed’s supporters, some waving “Free Nasheed” posters, had gathered outside the court on Friday night. Police said they had briefly detained 13 men.

 

A Reuters witness said the crowd dispersed after the sentencing.

 

In a statement in court, Nasheed urged his supporters to come out onto the streets in protest, according to a text released by his office after his sentencing.

 

“I appeal to all of you today to stay courageous and strong, to confront the dictatorial power of this regime, to change this government and work towards forming a government that would pave the way for the people’s development and prosperity,” he said.

 

The arrest of the judge in 2012 triggered a crisis in which Nasheed has said he was forced to resign at gunpoint. His allies say he was ousted in a coup.

 

Yameen became president in November 2013 in an election whose first-round result was cancelled when early results put Nasheed ahead. When the second round was held, Nasheed lost by a narrow margin and conceded defeat.

 

The prosecutor-general last month withdrew criminal charges that had been brought against Nasheed over the judge’s arrest, only to issue an arrest warrant shortly afterwards on new charges of terrorism relating to the same incident, bringing thousands out onto the streets in protest.

 

The Maldives is a string of more than 1,100 coral islands popular as a holiday paradise.

 

The political turmoil comes amid worry about increasing Islamist militancy in the country.

 

(additional reporting and writing by Tommy Wilkes; Editing by Alison Williams, Kevin Liffey, Robert Birsel, Kim Coghill)

 

Source: Newsjyoti Top National News

Hamilton takes pole for dominant Mercedes

Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain drives during the third practice session of the Australian F1 Grand Prix at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne

MELBOURNE Sat Mar 14, 2015 1:58pm IST

Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain drives during the third practice session of the Australian F1 Grand Prix at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne March 14, 2015.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed

 

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – World champion Lewis Hamilton took pole position for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Saturday ahead of Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg as the Silver Arrows continued to underline their dominance in Formula One.

 

The Briton recorded a fastest lap of one minute 26.327 seconds, trouncing Rosberg by nearly six-tenths of a second while leaving the Williams of Felipe Massa well adrift in third.

 

Hamilton set the early running in the final session before roaring home to capture his 39th pole on a windy afternoon at Albert Park.

 

“It’s been a great start to the weekend,” Hamilton told reporters after capturing his first pole since the Russian Grand Prix last October.

 

“A big rush and a huge effort from all the guys back at the factory to enable us to come here and have this performance so I feel incredibly blessed to have this car.”

 

The two-time world champion’s pole was Mercedes’ 12th in succession and victory in Sunday’s race would appear a formality for the team that raffled 16 of last year’s 19 race wins.

 

Rosberg led Hamilton in two of the three practice sessions but locked up and spun into the grass in the final qualifying phase after complaining of an engine cut-out in the second.

 

However, last year’s championship runner-up blamed himself for being off Hamilton’s pace.

 

“It wasn’t a great day today,” he said. “For me, the speed was there. I just didn’t get it together.”

 

Four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel will start fourth on the grid on his debut for Ferrari with his Finnish team mate Kimi Raikkonen fifth.

 

Valtteri Bottas will start sixth in the other Williams, although the Finn will rue an error on the final straight that denied him a chance of claiming a spot on the second row.

 

Though the sessions produced no major incidents, team radios blared throughout as drivers reported a myriad technical problems and occasionally skidded off track.

 

McLaren’s dismal weekend continued after troubled winter testing, with Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen to line up from the back of the grid after failing to be in the top 15 cars that advanced through to Q2.

 

Red Bull are also well off the pace and Australian Daniel Ricciardo complained from the outset that his car lacked power.

 

He will line up seventh on the grid while his Russian team mate, Daniil Kvyat, was knocked out in Q2 and will start 13th.

 

Having fought legal battles with Giedo van der Garde all week, Sauber’s nominated drivers Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr qualified after the Dutchman elected not to pursue his racing seat at Albert Park.

 

Swede Ericsson was eliminated in Q1 and will start 16th on the grid in front of the McLarens with his Brazilian team mate five spots ahead.

 

Only 18 cars will compete in Sunday’s race after Manor Marussia were unable to put Spaniard Roberto Merhi and Briton Will Stevens on the track for either qualifying or any of the three practice sessions.

 

(Editing by John O’Brien)

 

Source: Newsjyoti Top National News

Quick answers to double shooting elude police in Ferguson, Missouri

Member of a St. Louis County investigative team speaks with a resident living in the neighborhood near the Ferguson Police Department, in Ferguson
(Reuters) – Nearly 48 hours after two officers were shot in Ferguson, Missouri, investigators had dozens of leads but no arrests to report on Friday in the hunt for a gunman who turned a late-night protest against police into bedlam.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said authorities had “a pretty good idea” where the gunshots that wounded the officers had originated, without providing specifics, but added that an arrest was not imminent.

The kind of gun used, the shooter’s motivation and any connection to the protesters remained a mystery, prolonging uncertainty for a town that has come to symbolize America’s struggle with race and policing.

The latest bout of violence in the St. Louis suburb, first rattled by the killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a white officer last summer, brought out signs of sympathy for police on Friday.

One protester stood opposite the Ferguson police department with a sign reading “Cops Lives Matter,” playing on the “Black Lives Matter” slogan that sprang up in the wake of police killings of unarmed black men in New York City and elsewhere.

Belmar said donations for rewards to help the investigation had poured in over the last two days.

The desire of some to move on from months of racial strife and protests played out in a chilly evening rain in front of the police department on Friday, where a dozen mostly white residents stood holding signs reading “I [heart] Ferguson”.

“Obviously we have a lot of changes to make, but we’re very resilient and committed to do what’s right,” said Susan Ankenbrand, 72, a tour guide in St Louis and Ferguson resident for 40 years.

“But we want to put another face on our community.”

Though others, like The Organization for Black Struggle Executive Director Montague Simmons, are determined to continue the near-daily demonstrations.

“Some people are sick of it, sure,” Simmons said. “At the same time, others want us because of the change we bring.”

To that end, five residents signed an affidavit at Ferguson City Hall Friday afternoon to start a petition for Mayor James Knowles’ recall, according to a statement from The Organization for Black Struggle.

Residents will have 60 days to gather signatures from 15 percent of registered voters in the last mayoral election to prompt a special election, the statement said.

MAYOR STANDS FIRM

Ferguson’s police chief, city manager, municipal court judge and two police officers have resigned since the U.S. Justice Department released a damning review last week of the police force in Ferguson, where a majority of residents are African-American and most of the police are white.

The report found that the force overwhelmingly arrested and issued traffic citations to black residents, creating a “toxic” environment with its policing practices.

But Knowles said on Friday that it would be up to voters to remove him.

“Somebody here has to be left standing to make sure the government continues to operate. There are ways to get rid of me as mayor,” Knowles said in an interview with National Public Radio.

Knowles, whose job as mayor is part-time, told NPR, “I’m giving it every last measure at this point and I will continue to do so, as long as the citizens will have me.”

In Thursday’s shooting, a 41-year-old county police officer suffered a shoulder wound and a 32-year-old colleague from a nearby police department sustained a facial wound that left a bullet lodged near his ear. Both were treated and released by a local hospital.

The shooting of the officers came less than three months after the killing of two New York City patrolmen by a troubled man who said he was seeking to avenge the deaths at the hands of police of Brown and Eric Garner in New York. [ID: nL1N0U40MU]

The latest turn of events threatened to undermine an incipient recovery in the town of 21,000, where an injection of funds has helped small businesses rebuild after two spates of looting and vandalism last year.

President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, who both have been critical of city leaders and police in Ferguson, called the assailants “criminals” and “punks” on Thursday.

(Additional reporting by David Bailey in Minneapolis, Fiona Ortiz in Chicago; Writing by Frank McGurty, Mary Milliken and Curtis Skinner; Editing by Ken Wills & Kim Coghill)


Source: Newsjyoti Top Trending

Uber, Lyft rebuffed in bids to deem drivers independent contractors

Photo illustration of logo of car-sharing service app Uber on a smartphone over a reserved lane for taxis in a street in Madrid

SAN FRANCISCO Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:20pm IST.

The logo of car-sharing service app Uber on a smartphone over a reserved lane for taxis in a street is seen in this photo illustration taken in Madrid on December 10, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Sergio Perez

 

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Ride-hailing apps Uber and Lyft failed to persuade separate U.S. judges on Wednesday to rule that their drivers are independent contractors instead of employees, in cases that have wide implications for Silicon Valley “sharing economy” firms.

 

U.S. District Judges Edward Chen and Vince Chhabria in San Francisco federal court said in two rulings that juries would have to determine the status of each companies’ drivers.

 

Uber and Lyft face separate lawsuits seeking class-action status in San Francisco, brought on behalf of drivers who contend they are employees and entitled to reimbursement for expenses, including gas and vehicle maintenance. The drivers currently pay those costs themselves.

 

An ultimate finding against the two biggest car-ride services could significantly raise their costs beyond the lawsuits’ scope and force them to pay Social Security, workers’ compensation, and unemployment insurance.

 

That could, in turn, affect the valuations of not just Lyft and Uber but also other startups that rely on large networks of privately contracted individuals to provide rides, clean houses and the like.

 

Uber declined to comment and Lyft did not respond to a request for comment on the decisions.

 

“We are very excited about both rulings,” said Shannon Liss-Riordan, an attorney for drivers in both cases.

 

Uber has raised more than $4 billion from prominent venture capital firms such as Benchmark and Google Ventures, valuing the company at $40 billion and making it the most valuable U.S. startup. Lyft has raised $331 million from Andreessen Horowitz, Founders Fund and other investors.

 

In Wednesday’s ruling, Chen noted that Uber has the right to terminate its drivers, and that they provide a key service for the app. Both factors weigh in favor of the drivers being considered employees.

 

“Uber could not be ‘Everyone’s Private Driver’ without the drivers,” Chen wrote. However, the issue is not “unambiguous”, Chen wrote, so a jury should ultimately decide.

 

Similarly, Chhabria acknowledged the difficulty of parsing the status of Lyft’s drivers, who share common characteristics with both full-time employees and contractors.

 

“The jury in this case will be handed a square peg and asked to choose between two round holes,” the judge wrote.

 

“California’s outmoded test for classifying workers will apply in cases like this. And because the test provides nothing remotely close to a clear answer, it will often be for juries to decide,” wrote Chhabria.

 

(Editing by Phil Berlowitz, Steve Orlofsky and Muralikumar Anantharaman)

 

Source: Newsjyoti India Technology

UPDATE 1-Cricket-World Cup South Africa v United Arab Emirates scoreboard

Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:20pm IST

A look at China’s Colombo Port City project that Sri Lanka has suspended, citing lack of government approvals.  Slideshow

 

March 12 (Infostrada Sports) - Scoreboard at close of play in the World Cup match between South Africa and United Arab Emirates on Thursday in Wellington, New Zealand 
South Africa Innings      
H. Amla                        c Ali b Naveed             12  
Q. de Kock                     c Haider b Javed           26  
R. Rossouw                     c&b Tauqir             43  
A. de Villiers                 c Javed b Shazad           99  
D. Miller                      b Naveed                   49  
J. Duminy                      lbw b Naveed               23  
F. Behardien                   not out                    64  
V. Philander                   not out                    10  
Extras                         (b-4 lb-1 nb-5 w-5)        15  
Total                          (for 6 wickets, 50 overs)  341 
Fall of wickets: 1-17 H. Amla,2-85 Q. de Kock,3-96 R. Rossouw,4-204 D. Miller,5-257 A. de Villiers,6-292 J. Duminy
Did not bat: D. Steyn, M. Morkel, I. Tahir
Bowling                   
M. Naveed                      10 - 0 - 63 - 3(nb-3 w-1)      
K. Shazad                      8 - 0 - 59 - 1(nb-1)           
A. Javed                       10 - 0 - 87 - 1(nb-1 w-2)      
M. Tauqir                      10 - 0 - 47 - 1(w-1)           
F. Alhashmi                    7.2 - 0 - 45 - 0(w-1)          
K. Khan                        4 - 0 - 31 - 0                 
S. Anwar                       0.4 - 0 - 4 - 0                
United Arab Emirates Innings
A. Ali                         c Behardien b Duminy       21  
A. Berenger                    c Rossouw b M. Morkel      5   
K. Khan                        c de Kock b M. Morkel      12  
S. Anwar                       c Rossouw b Tahir          39  
S. Patil                       not out                    57  
S. Haider                      c Rossouw b de Villiers    7   
A. Javed                       c sub b de Villiers        5   
M. Naveed                      c de Villiers b Philander  17  
M. Tauqir                      b Steyn                    3   
K. Shazad                      c Steyn b Philander        0   
F. Alhashmi                    absent injured                 
Extras                         (b-4 lb-16 nb-3 w-6)       29  
Total                          (all out, 47.3 overs)      195 
Fall of wickets: 1-29 A. Berenger,2-45 A. Ali,3-45 K. Khan,4-108 S. Anwar,5-118 S. Haider,6-125 A. Javed,7-163 M. Naveed,8-189 M. Tauqir,9-195 K. Shazad
Bowling                   
D. Steyn                       9 - 1 - 40 - 1                 
V. Philander                   8.3 - 1 - 34 - 2(nb-1 w-1)     
M. Morkel                      10 - 2 - 23 - 2(nb-2 w-1)      
J. Duminy                      3 - 1 - 12 - 1                 
F. Behardien                   4 - 1 - 11 - 0(w-2)            
I. Tahir                       10 - 0 - 40 - 1(w-1)           
A. de Villiers                 3 - 0 - 15 - 2(w-1)            
Referees                  
Umpire: Steve Davis                                           
Umpire: Rod Tucker                                            
TV umpire: Bruce Oxenford                                     
Match referee: Roshan Mahanama                                
Result: South Africa won by 146 runs

 

Source: Newsjyoti Cricket